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Совет национальной безопасности США
Совет национальной безопасности (англ. National Security Council, сокращённо СНБ) — консультативный орган при президенте США для решения наиболее важных вопросов национальной безопасности и внешней политики, и координации действий всех основных ведомств, связанных с указанными вопрос ...

Совет национальной безопасности (англ. National Security Council, сокращённо СНБ) — консультативный орган при президенте США для решения наиболее важных вопросов национальной безопасности и внешней политики, и координации действий всех основных ведомств, связанных с указанными вопросами.

Совет национальной безопасности был создан в 1947 году законом о национальной безопасности. Его созданию послужила убеждённость влиятельных американских политиков в том, что дипломатия Государственного департамента США больше не была способна сдерживать СССР при напряжённых отношениях между СССР и США[1]. Конечной целью его создания было обеспечение согласованности действий между военно-морскими силами, Корпусом морской пехоты, сухопутными войсками и военно-воздушными силами США.

2009 г.:

Заседание СНБ: президент Барак Обама, Госсекретарь Хиллари Клинтон, Министр обороны — Роберт Гейтс, Заместитель начальника ОКНШ — ген. Кэртрайт, директор разведки Деннис Блэр, советник президента Грег Крейг, директор ЦРУ Леон Панетта, заместитель начальника Совета внутренней безопасности Том Донилон, советник президента по национальной безопасности ген. Джеймс «Джим» Джонс и глава президентской администрации Рэм Эмануел

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28 мая, 00:06

Kushner’s alleged Russia backchannel attempt would be serious break from protocol

Former national security officials say such communications are common for presidents, but highly suspect for transition teams.

27 мая, 22:50

Why Would Jared Kushner Trust Russian Officials So Much?

A Washington Post report suggests the president's son-in-law and adviser sought to give Moscow information he wanted to conceal from America's own intelligence agencies.

27 мая, 20:30

McMaster Responds To Kushner's "Russia Back-Channel" Report

Having admitted that their Memorial Day Weekend blockbuster scoop that President Trump's son-in-law "discussed the possibility of setting up a secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak,"  is really a non-story because, as they state themselves "It is common for senior advisers of a newly elected president to be in contact with foreign leaders and official," The Washington Post reports that President Trump's national security adviser, H.R. McMaster agrees this is a non-story, saying Saturday he "would not be concerned" about having a back-channel communications system with Russia. WaPo reports that McMaster and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who together briefed reporters Saturday, were unwilling to discuss the Kushner matter, as was White House press secretary Sean Spicer. White House officials insisted the briefing be conducted off-camera, preventing photographers or television cameras from documenting it. As McMaster and Cohn took the stage in the briefing room, a television screen just over their shoulder played CNN, which at that moment aired a discussion of the Kushner-Russia story under a "breaking news" banner. "We're not going to comment on Jared," Cohn said.   "We're just not going to comment." McMaster said he could not talk about Kushner's talks with Russia because "it's not something that I've in any way been involved with or that I have any knowledge of." However, as WaPo reports, McMaster, a decorated three-star Army general, was asked whether he would be concerned if an official on his National Security Council staff or elsewhere in the Trump administration sought a back-channel communications system with the Russian embassy or the Kremlin in Moscow. His response is telling... "No," McMaster said. "We have back-channel communications with a number of countries. So, generally speaking, about back-channel communications, what that allows you to do is to communicate in a discreet manner."   He continued, "No, I would not be concerned about it." The Washington Post reports that the press conference grew more tense after that... we suspect the reason is clear, The White House would not be drawn into the non-story narrative that the entire press corps wants to run with for the weekend.

27 мая, 14:45

ISIL: Target Russia - Featured Documentary

Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) have always considered "the West" - and the United States in particular - the ultimate enemy. But following President Vladimir Putin's policy of military involvement in Syria, Russia may have taken its place as ISIL's main target. "At the moment ISIL's rage is directed at Bashar al-Assad and Putin.They are the main enemies of ISIL because Russia has smashed ISIL in Syria and the same in Iraq. They will do anything to get their revenge on Russia," says Ahmad Saeedi, Dawat University, Kabul. Thousands of ISIL fighters from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere are regrouping in the virtually impregnable mountains of Afghanistan, plotting revenge against the Kremlin. ISIL's high command have given orders to target Russian cities, with thousands of trained fighters ready to act at any time. Most recently, a lone terrorist on the metro in St Petersburg demonstrated the vulnerability of any modern city. On a moving train, in the middle of the day, a young Uzbek man with Russian citizenship detonated a bomb made with TNT and packed with shrapnel. Dozens were hurt and 15 killed. The bomber was later reported in the Russian media to have been in Syria with ISIL in 2014. The Russians maintain that they are monitoring ISIL's movements closely, claiming lack of concern regarding threats from the group. The Russia-Afghanistan connection is nothing new, with a decades-old history laced in conflict. The Soviet-Afghan war, led by Leonid Brezhnev first and then Mikhail Gorbachev in the mid-80s, was waged against insurgent groups known as the "mujahideen" and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. After almost a decade of war, they were driven out by a coalition of Afghan tribesmen led by the charismatic Ahmad Shah Masoud, who became known as the Lion of Panjshir. When the Soviet army eventually withdrew in 1989, the power vacuum made way for the rise of different armed factions which would slowly tear the nation apart - allowing the Taliban, al-Qaeda and ISIL to take root in Afghanistan. Zubair Massoud, the nephew of Ahmed Shah Massoud, is the adviser to the Afghan National Security Council. He sees the recent influx of ISIL fighters as a major threat to Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries. "The terrorists you see in Syria are the same individuals that are here now in Afghanistan. These are terrorists that come from different countries - from Tajikistan, from Uzbekistan, Chechnya. It's a strategic place. They could go across the border and finally their main goal is Russia," he says. As well as attacking isolated villages, ISIL has brought terror to the capital, Kabul. In one incident alone, 80 people were killed in a suicide bombing. So if they manage to infiltrate Russia with the number of trained sleeper cells they speak of, then the carnage they currently create in Afghanistan is merely a precursor to their plans for Moscow, St Petersburg and other target cities. Zamir Kabulov, President Putin's special envoy to Afghanistan, appears dismissive of the growing threats across the borders from Russia. He says that the worst-case scenario would only be realised if ISIL were able to create instability across Central Asia, flooding Russia with refugees that could cause a security issue. Massoud fears that the Russians and other neighbouring countries to the north of Afghanistan may not understand the extent of the situation, with numbers of fighters in the region growing at an exponential rate. "As I have seen in the last three to four years we're in a very bad state in Afghanistan," says Massoud. "Just as the US troops were starting to leave, more militants started to come inside Afghanistan. They've come together and they're increasing in size every day. Last year, there were 300. Now there are 2,000 foreigners in Badakhshan, which is a danger for everyone." With unprecedented access, ISIL: Target Russia looks at how ISIL and its splinter groups are training and organising to move fighter units north, through the Caucuses, with the intent of attacking Russia. We profile some of ISIL's women fighters and meet commanders and fighters in the remote mountains of northern Afghanistan who explain that their plan to hit Russia is already well under way. - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

26 мая, 21:12

Weekend Roundup: Trump’s Siding With Saudi Arabia Against Iran Deepens The Mideast Divide

In a speech in Riyadh ostensibly billed as seeking to unite the Muslim world against terrorism, U.S. President Donald Trump instead further inflamed the Shia-Sunni schism in the region by signaling America’s embrace of the Saudi anti-Iran vision for the Middle East. It was, of course, left unmentioned that the so-called Islamic State, which claimed credit for the truly evil atrocity in Manchester days later, derives part of its fanatic ideology from the fundamentalist Wahhabism strain of Islam that legitimates Saudi Arabia’s monarchy.   One can only imagine how the images of Trump partaking in a traditional sword dance with Saudi officials played to voters who had just gone to the polls in Iran and overwhelmingly returned the reformist leader Hassan Rouhani to the presidency. Rouhani’s re-election was due in no small part to the nuclear and sanctions relief deal he negotiated with the United States and other major powers. That deal was crucial to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to not only curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but to establish a new balance in America’s Mideast policy between Sunni and Shia powers as well. It is a tragic mistake for the Trump administration to reverse that policy at the very moment it was producing results in Iran. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who once headed the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council, underscores this shift in Iran. “The Iranian electorate has spoken in its decision between two stark alternatives: strengthening civil society and engaging with the world, or turning inward with economic populism and combative foreign policy,” he writes. “In decisively voting for Rouhani, Iranians have endorsed diplomacy and moderation. And they have done so in direct contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called for increasing tensions with Iran and championed isolationist foreign policy.” Abolhassan Bani-Sadr concurs that Iran’s election was a milestone. The first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran told The WorldPost this week that Rouhani’s landslide win marked a level of democratic culture in his country not seen since before the pro-American shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi: “In this election ― for the first time since the early days of the revolution itself and the rule of our democratic Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, back before the shah ― the core debates were about human rights, the rights of citizenship and democracy. I am a good barometer to measure this shift, after all, since I was forced out of office in those early revolutionary days by the ayatollahs for promoting these values. This gives us reason to believe that democratic culture is spreading and deepening in Iran.” Despite Trump’s anti-Iran remarks in Riyadh, Bani-Sadr’s hope and expectation is that this budding advance of democratic culture in Iran will make it more difficult for Washington to demonize Tehran. Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council expects that, given Rouhani’s victory, Iran will continue to try to engage the U.S.-Saudi alignment and damp down rivalry. But it is a two-way street, he says: “Rouhani’s track record demonstrates that sustained engagement can lower tensions and produce peaceful solutions to conflict. By electing him to a second term, Iran has once again extended its hand. It remains to be seen if the world will unclench its fist.” Turning to other key events, in an article ahead of the G-7 summit in Sicily, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe highlights the populist backlash against free trade and globalization. “We are approaching the 10-year mark since the start of the global financial crisis,” he writes. “Many countries and regions have made tenacious efforts to ride out the crisis and ensure a growth path. Looking at things globally, however, much remains to be done on issues such as youth unemployment, wage levels and productivity. The key to overcoming these challenges,” he boldly states, “is free trade.” But trade, he goes on to stipulate, must not only be free, but fair. Above all, its benefits must be spread more inclusively both within societies and globally, the Japanese leader says, if the zero-sum alternative of protectionism is to be avoided. Finally, Singapore’s scholar-statesman George Yeo explains this week why “civilizational states” in Asia, like China and to some extent Japan, are less prone to populism than the West. As he sees it, China’s largely homogenous Han people, not unlike Japan’s even more homogenous population, “bow before the ideal of a common ancestry and destiny” that ties them together more strongly than any factional or individual interests might divide them. Other highlights in The WorldPost this week: Trump Reportedly Called Germans ‘Very Bad,’ Vowed To Stop German Car Sales In The U.S. Inside North Korea’s Secret Cyber Warfare Cell Climate Change Is Turning Antarctica Green Elon Musk Is ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ After Talking To Trump About Paris Climate Pact There’s A New Type Of Pollution Invading The Oceans WHO WE ARE     EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Rosa O’Hara is the Social Editor of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at HuffPost, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Nick Robins-Early and Jesselyn Cook are World Reporters. EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media), Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun). VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large. The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea. Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine. ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as theAdvisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail and Zheng Bijian. From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt. MISSION STATEMENT The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets. We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

26 мая, 21:12

Weekend Roundup: Trump’s Siding With Saudi Arabia Against Iran Deepens The Mideast Divide

In a speech in Riyadh ostensibly billed as seeking to unite the Muslim world against terrorism, U.S. President Donald Trump instead further inflamed the Shia-Sunni schism in the region by signaling America’s embrace of the Saudi anti-Iran vision for the Middle East. It was, of course, left unmentioned that the so-called Islamic State, which claimed credit for the truly evil atrocity in Manchester days later, derives part of its fanatic ideology from the fundamentalist Wahhabism strain of Islam that legitimates Saudi Arabia’s monarchy.   One can only imagine how the images of Trump partaking in a traditional sword dance with Saudi officials played to voters who had just gone to the polls in Iran and overwhelmingly returned the reformist leader Hassan Rouhani to the presidency. Rouhani’s re-election was due in no small part to the nuclear and sanctions relief deal he negotiated with the United States and other major powers. That deal was crucial to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s effort to not only curb the proliferation of nuclear weapons, but to establish a new balance in America’s Mideast policy between Sunni and Shia powers as well. It is a tragic mistake for the Trump administration to reverse that policy at the very moment it was producing results in Iran. Seyed Hossein Mousavian, who once headed the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran’s National Security Council, underscores this shift in Iran. “The Iranian electorate has spoken in its decision between two stark alternatives: strengthening civil society and engaging with the world, or turning inward with economic populism and combative foreign policy,” he writes. “In decisively voting for Rouhani, Iranians have endorsed diplomacy and moderation. And they have done so in direct contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called for increasing tensions with Iran and championed isolationist foreign policy.” Abolhassan Bani-Sadr concurs that Iran’s election was a milestone. The first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran told The WorldPost this week that Rouhani’s landslide win marked a level of democratic culture in his country not seen since before the pro-American shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi: “In this election ― for the first time since the early days of the revolution itself and the rule of our democratic Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh, back before the shah ― the core debates were about human rights, the rights of citizenship and democracy. I am a good barometer to measure this shift, after all, since I was forced out of office in those early revolutionary days by the ayatollahs for promoting these values. This gives us reason to believe that democratic culture is spreading and deepening in Iran.” Despite Trump’s anti-Iran remarks in Riyadh, Bani-Sadr’s hope and expectation is that this budding advance of democratic culture in Iran will make it more difficult for Washington to demonize Tehran. Reza Marashi of the National Iranian American Council expects that, given Rouhani’s victory, Iran will continue to try to engage the U.S.-Saudi alignment and damp down rivalry. But it is a two-way street, he says: “Rouhani’s track record demonstrates that sustained engagement can lower tensions and produce peaceful solutions to conflict. By electing him to a second term, Iran has once again extended its hand. It remains to be seen if the world will unclench its fist.” Turning to other key events, in an article ahead of the G-7 summit in Sicily, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe highlights the populist backlash against free trade and globalization. “We are approaching the 10-year mark since the start of the global financial crisis,” he writes. “Many countries and regions have made tenacious efforts to ride out the crisis and ensure a growth path. Looking at things globally, however, much remains to be done on issues such as youth unemployment, wage levels and productivity. The key to overcoming these challenges,” he boldly states, “is free trade.” But trade, he goes on to stipulate, must not only be free, but fair. Above all, its benefits must be spread more inclusively both within societies and globally, the Japanese leader says, if the zero-sum alternative of protectionism is to be avoided. Finally, Singapore’s scholar-statesman George Yeo explains this week why “civilizational states” in Asia, like China and to some extent Japan, are less prone to populism than the West. As he sees it, China’s largely homogenous Han people, not unlike Japan’s even more homogenous population, “bow before the ideal of a common ancestry and destiny” that ties them together more strongly than any factional or individual interests might divide them. Other highlights in The WorldPost this week: Trump Reportedly Called Germans ‘Very Bad,’ Vowed To Stop German Car Sales In The U.S. Inside North Korea’s Secret Cyber Warfare Cell Climate Change Is Turning Antarctica Green Elon Musk Is ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ After Talking To Trump About Paris Climate Pact There’s A New Type Of Pollution Invading The Oceans WHO WE ARE     EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Rosa O’Hara is the Social Editor of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at HuffPost, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Nick Robins-Early and Jesselyn Cook are World Reporters. EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media), Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun). VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa. CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large. The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea. Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine. ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as theAdvisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei Kudrin, Pascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon Musk, Pierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel Roubini, Nicolas Sarkozy, Eric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter Schwartz, Amartya Sen, Jeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry Summers, Wu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail and Zheng Bijian. From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony Blair, Jacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar Issing, Mario Monti, Robert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt. MISSION STATEMENT The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets. We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

26 мая, 19:13

UpFront - What is Iran's endgame in Syria? - UpFront

Iranians took to the polls and overwhelmingly voted to re-elect incumbent and so-called moderate Hassan Rouhani in last week's presidential election. But can we expect his next four years on the international stage to be any different from the previous years? According to Seyed Hossein Mousavian, a close friend and ally of Rouhani, while the focus of the first term was on the nuclear issue, the second term will focus on regional diplomacy. "I think in the second term he would really like to focus on the regional issues to bring peace, cooperation, engagement, diplomacy with the neighbours," says Mousavian, who also headed the Foreign Relations Committee of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. "The problem is whether Saudi Arabia would be ready … [they] now prefer to ally with Israel rather than Iran, to fight Iran." In this UpFront special, Mehdi Hasan challenges Iranian policymaker and former diplomat Hossein Mousavian to explain Iran's policies in the region and what some see as the double standards with regards to Yemen and Bahrain. For more on Iran's internal power dynamics and the extent of political reform, go to fb.com/ajupfront Editor's note: We covered human rights and the extent of democracy in Iran previously here: http://aje.io/pezl - Subscribe to our channel: http://aje.io/AJSubscribe - Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AJEnglish - Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/aljazeera - Check our website: http://www.aljazeera.com/

26 мая, 11:50

The Only Constant Is Trump

A plea with the president for some predictability

26 мая, 08:00

UN strongly condemns terrorist attack in Egypt

The United Nations Security Council and Secretary-General António Guterres today condemned in the strongest terms the killing of at least 28 people in Egypt, with the Council denouncing the attack “heinous” and “cowardly.”

26 мая, 01:29

Former Obama Officials Relieved By Partial Victory On Iran Sanctions Bill

WASHINGTON ― The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a modified version of an Iran sanctions bill on Thursday that includes changes recommended by former Obama administration officials. The original version of the sanctions bill had broad bipartisan support. But Obama-era national security officials warned that it risked violating the Iran nuclear deal and alienating U.S. allies. With Republicans now in control of both chambers of Congress and the White House, Iran deal advocates didn’t have much leverage to convince lawmakers to tweak the legislation. But with a well-coordinated public and private messaging campaign, a group of Obama alumni succeeded in altering two sections of the bill they deemed risky. The amended legislation, approved by a vote of 18-3, changes language that would impose sanctions on anyone the president determines “poses a risk of materially contributing” to Iran’s ballistic missile program, to anyone who “knowingly” contributes to the program. The original description, critics argued, was overly broad and would have been difficult to enforce. “What if your car company was used to haul a missile?” said Richard Nephew, who was the lead sanctions expert on the U.S. team during the Iran nuclear negotiations. Lawmakers also reworded a section that would have created new conditions for lifting some ballistic missile sanctions that are set to expire in seven years as part of the nuclear deal. The original wording risked violating the nuclear deal by changing the terms of sanctions relief, critics said. The modifications closely mirror changes recommended by former officials who served in the previous administration’s National Security Council, State Department, Treasury Department, CIA, and Pentagon. Days after lawmakers introduced the bill in March, seven Obama-era foreign policy staffers proposed three changes to the text. Earlier this month, former Acting Treasury Secretary Adam Szubin embraced two of those proposed changes in a letter to members of the Foreign Relations Committee. The two changes endorsed by Szubin ultimately made it in the amended text of the bill. “In almost every meeting we’ve had with members and staff since Mr. Szubin and other Obama administration officials weighed in, the offices have referenced their opinions as reasons for concern,” a lobbyist who advocated for changes to the legislation told HuffPost. Szubin, an Obama appointee who served briefly under President Donald Trump, “had a particular impact on the Republican side because he is someone who is known and not seen as overtly political,” the lobbyist added. The only recommendation from former Obama staffers that failed to make its way into the amended bill was the removal of language that imposes sanctions reserved for global terrorist groups on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, a component of Iran’s military. Critics warned that the language will have the practical effect of designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist group, a move that defense officials have warned could compromise U.S. military operations in Iraq. Because the IRGC is involved in a significant portion of Iran’s business transactions, the designation could scare foreign companies away from doing business with Iran, which would undermine sanctions relief promised to Iran under the nuclear deal, Nephew said.  Of the 21 members on the committee, only four ― Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) ― voted in favor of a failed amendment to modify the IRGC provision. Convincing lawmakers to make any changes to a bill that was likely to pass with bipartisan support in its original form was a coup for critics of the legislation. But even with the modifications, some Obama administration officials say they remain concerned about potential effects of new sanctions legislation on the fragile international nuclear accord. The evening before the committee vote, former Secretary of State John Kerry warned lawmakers against passing a new sanctions bill in the immediate aftermath of the re-election of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the more moderate of the candidates. Jeff Prescott, a former National Security Council official who helped draft the March warning to lawmakers, said on Thursday that the changes to the bill may prevent “an outright violation” of the nuclear deal, “but we remain concerned about lending bipartisan license to an Administration that has signaled an intent to revisit aspects of the nuclear deal and escalate against Iran in the absence of a clear strategy or diplomatic engagement.” That concern was echoed even by some lawmakers who voted in favor of additional sanctions. “The reticence that some of us have brought to this debate is due to the fact that we worry that this can be construed as a congressional pre-endorsement” of future actions by the Trump administration that could undermine the deal, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said on Thursday, shortly before the committee vote. Though the Trump administration has so far upheld U.S. obligations under the nuclear deal and certified Iranian compliance, the president has indicated a willingness to change course. In a recent joint statement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia ― Iran’s main regional adversary ― the two countries agreed that “the nuclear agreement with Iran needs to be re-examined in some of its clauses.” -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

25 мая, 20:39

Trump team keeps U.S. reporters in the dark overseas

BRUSSELS — President Donald Trump has left American journalists in the dark during key moments of his nine-day foreign trip, delaying readouts, keeping reporters at a distance and not holding news conferences — which has allowed him to avoid having to answer to controversies at home. The moves have continued a pattern established over the first months of his administration. Trump attended a meeting with European Union leaders at the EU headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday without bringing members of his press team, unlike his peers, whose spokespeople turned out formal statements within minutes of the meeting’s conclusion.White House press secretary Sean Spicer and deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were spotted sitting at a cafe near the EU building during the meeting. Sanders later told POLITICO that responsibility for the meeting had been passed on to the National Security Council communications team. The White House press office issued a statement hours after the meeting concluded.Trump has so far not held any news conferences on the trip, which is unusual for such a tour. It’s not clear whether he’ll take questions in Sicily, the final stop of the trip, where he’s scheduled to attend a meeting of G7 leaders. Ari Fleischer, who was press secretary for George W. Bush, said his team never went through an entire foreign trip without a presidential news conference. “It’s highly unusual for a president, but it’s highly disciplined for Donald Trump,” Fleischer said.“Trump needed a break from a domestic downward spiral he was in when he left the United States and the substance of this trip and the good reception he’s receiving is giving him that break,” Fleischer added. “If he would have held press conferences, he would have competed against the messages he wanted to send.” Alex Conant, who also served as a press aide under Bush, concurred. “Clearly, the White House made a strategic decision to limit the number of things that could go wrong on this trip, and a press conference on foreign soil is always a risky proposition,” Conant said. Former NSC spokesperson Tommy Vietor said President Barack Obama usually did press conferences at major summits, and he often took one to two questions from the media after bilateral meetings.Vietor said they tried to send written readouts after every meeting and hold daily on camera briefings with the press secretary and senior NSC staffers. “If you don’t give the press access to the president or to senior staff who can readout his meetings, you’re allowing other countries to write the stories and spin their message,” he said. Earlier in the trip, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who declined to take reporters on his first foreign trip to Asia in March—held a last-minute on-the-record news conference with Saudi journalists, but American reporters traveling with the president, who had been granted an earlier availability with the secretary, weren't invited to the event. Tillerson has since again briefed the U.S. press corps on the trip. On Thursday, the traveling U.S. press pool was shut out of Trump’s arrival and introductions with EU leaders, though live footage from the introductions was streamed online on an EU website. Official photographers for the EU and the White House were allowed in.That episode echoed the White House decision to allow official White House and Russian photographers but not White House pool journalists to witness the president’s meeting with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office earlier this month. White House officials subsequently said they were surprised when photographs of the meeting were first circulated on the Russian news service TASS.The president has been considering a shakeup of his communications staff, with Spicer expected to take a lower-profile role once he returns to Washington. On the trip, he’s mainly handed off briefing responsibilities to other officials, though he briefed reporters Thursday evening on Trump’s dinner with NATO leaders.

24 мая, 14:07

TRUMP meets the Pope -- THEIR GIFTS to each other -- ANNIE KARNI on Trump’s good trip… so far -- MNUCHIN’s Freedom Caucus huddle -- SCOOP: Big ad buy to help Senate Ds

Listen to the Playbook Audio Briefing http://bit.ly/2rginHg ... Subscribe on iTunes http://apple.co/2eX6Eay ... Visit the online home of Playbook http://politi.co/2f51JnfGood Wednesday morning. BULLETIN -- AP at 5:35 a.m.: “MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Manchester police say they have made three more arrests over pop concert bombing.”EXCHANGE OF THE DAY, from President Donald Trump’s trip to the Vatican, per pooler Carol Lee of the Wall Street Journal: “The pope asked Melania Trump, referring to POTUS: ‘What do you give him to eat, pizza?’ She repeated ‘pizza.’ … Per Vatican pool the pope and Melania were actually talking about potizza, which apparently is a Slovenian treat. Not pizza.”PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP had a busy morning. He went to the Vatican, met the pope and then headed to Villa Taverna to meet with Italian Prime Minister Pablo Gentiloni. -- SCENES FROM THE VATICAN: From Carol Lee's pool report: "The first person pool saw POTUS introduce to Pope Francis was Rex Tillerson. 'This is my secretary of state,' POTUS explained. H.R. McMaster was next. POTUS introduced him by name. When POTUS introduced Hope Hicks to the pope, your pooler believes he told him she has worked for him for a long time. Then Dan Scavino, Brian Hook, Keith Schiller and others.TRUMP MEETS THE POPE -- PHOTOS! -- The handshake http://bit.ly/2qjg1lQ … The pair sitting at a desk http://bit.ly/2qb3Egv ... TRUMP ON THE POPE, per a pool report from Carol at the meeting with the prime minister: "He is something. We had a fantastic meeting." THE EXCHANGING OF THE GIFTS -- Trump gave the Pope a case of books from Martin Luther King Jr. The Pope gave Trump a medal by a Roman artist that he said is an olive, which is a symbol of peace. “We can use peace,” Trump said, per pooler Carol Lee. The Pope also gave Trump three books he regularly sends to Catholics “on the topics of family, the joy of the gospel and ‘care of our common home, the environment.’” The pope gave Trump Laudato Si, his encyclical on climate change and the environment. White House printout on Trump gift http://politi.co/2rghpdXANNIE KARNI IN JERUSALEM (she’s now with POTUS in Rome now) -- "How Trump's aides pulled off Middle East tour": “Trump’s relatively successful swing through the Middle East was due to the fact that, for the most part, he didn’t get in his own way. It was also the result of months of careful planning. A decision was made early on to visit a part of the world where Trump is venerated and feared, and to pack his schedule so that he mostly stayed on message and, according to one aide, ‘didn’t have time to tweet.’ But a key factor was the role played by Dina Powell, H.R. McMaster and Jared Kushner, who brought a combination of government experience and understanding that Trump wanted to get some negotiated wins on the board.“Kushner had been in talks with the Saudis about a possible visit since the early days of the transition. ... The trip served as something of a public capstone to Powell’s quick rise in a White House she joined as a domestic economic adviser primarily focused on helping Ivanka Trump navigate the role she wanted to play on women’s issues. Now Powell serves in a dual role. … Powell has been quietly elevated on the National Security Council for months, but her growing power was on full public display in the Middle East. … Powell, according to an administration official, was also instrumental in helping to craft the language Trump used in his Sunday speech on Islam, with a particular interest in his use of language about women’s rights.” http://politi.co/2rfLp9F -- BUT, BUT, BUT… “If Kushner has a Mideast peace plan, it’s a secret so far,” by Reuters’ Jeff Mason and Luke Baker: “To demonstrate its fairness, the Trump administration invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House weeks before Trump’s trip to Israel. Kushner and Greenblatt had a two-hour breakfast in Washington with Abbas before Abbas met with Trump, according to a source familiar with the meeting. ... [B]oth sides have to be cautious about how they deal with Kushner. Nobody will want to insult someone so close to the president by dismissing a proposal out of hand, said Dan Shapiro, the U.S. ambassador to Israel for six years under President Barack Obama.” http://reut.rs/2qfsBmK HOT MICS! -- “In Trump’s private moments, it’s small talk and compliments,” by AP’s Josef Federman and Aya Batrawy in Jerusalem: “What do world leaders talk about when they are alone? Not much, it seems. President Donald Trump spent part of his two-day visit to Israel with open microphones nearby, giving the world a small glimpse into his private banter with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu between official appearances. They chatted about paint on the walls, their wives and where to stand during a ceremony. And they exchanged compliments — lots of compliments. This presidential small talk provided just some of the memorable moments of Trump’s swing through the Middle East, the first stop on his first overseas trip as president. There was an awkward Saudi sword dance, an airport selfie with a pushy Israeli lawmaker and a possible snub by Melania Trump.” http://apne.ws/2rz6tI3CLICKER – “Trump in Israel and the West Bank: The top photos from his trip,” curated by Kristen East -- 37 pix http://politi.co/2qj3zlUPLAYBOOK EXCLUSIVE -- The Senate Majority PAC’s affiliated nonprofit Majority Forward is dropping an initial $3.5 million in TV and digital ads in six states this week. Both groups are designed to bolster the Senate Democratic leadership. The ads are running in Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Missouri, Montana and North Dakota. The spots, which are individually tailored to each state, do not mention Trump. “This is an opportunity to let working families know what their senator is doing to make a difference,” said JB Poersch, president of Majority Forward. “While some falsely harangue of a culture of ‘fake news;’ working families deserve to know the facts.” The ads in Missouri http://bit.ly/2rz38c0 … Arizona http://bit.ly/2qV8r2J … North Dakota http://bit.ly/2qUK734 … Montana http://bit.ly/2qV1oXXINSIDE MNUCHIN’S FREEDOM CAUCUS HUDDLE -- TREASURY SECRETARY SECRETARY STEVEN MNUCHIN has been all over the Hill recently. He’s met with the Tuesday Group, Ways and Means members, members of leadership and just about anyone who will listen. But, perhaps his most significant meeting was Tuesday afternoon when he huddled with the House Freedom Caucus and other conservatives. THE MAIN MESSAGES: Mnuchin threw cold water on the border-adjustment tax, a tax on imports favored by Speaker Paul Ryan. Mnuchin thinks tax reform can happen by the end of 2017 (PAGING RICH RUBIN!) And the Freedom Caucus seems willing to work with the Trump administration to expedite tax reform -- if the White House drops the BAT. COMING ATTRACTIONS -- “NATO rolls out the red carpet, buffs its image for Trump,” by AP’s Lorne Cook in Brussels: “NATO is not only rolling out the red carpet for U.S. President Donald Trump in Brussels Thursday, but the military alliance — which Trump has declared obsolete — has been busy repackaging its image and is ready to unveil a new headquarters worth 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion).“In recent months, member nations have strained to show they are ramping up defense spending as Trump has demanded. And while they agree with the chief of the alliance’s most powerful member that NATO can do more to fight terrorism, they say it can be achieved with more of the same; training and mentoring troops in Afghanistan, and equipping local forces in Iraq so they can better fight the Islamic State group themselves. … “Indeed, as part of the repackaging to be announced during Trump’s 24-hour visit to the city he branded a hellhole,’ NATO is likely to agree to join the 68-nation international coalition fighting IS. The move is symbolically important, especially since the group claimed responsibility Tuesday for a deadly explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. An anti-terror coordinator may also be named, but most changes will be cosmetic.” http://apne.ws/2rSw0bFTHIS WEEK’S BIG POLITICAL STORY -- “Republicans: Montana special election ‘closer than it should be’,” by Elena Schneider and Gabe Debenedetti in Great Falls: “Republican Greg Gianforte’s closing motivational speech to voters ahead of Thursday’s special House election in Montana is the same thing GOP strategists are whispering in private: ‘This race is closer than it should be.’“It’s a recurring nightmare of a pattern for Republicans around the country, as traditional GOP strongholds prove more difficult and expensive for the party to hold than it ever anticipated when President Donald Trump plucked House members like Ryan Zinke, the former Montana Republican now running the Interior Department, for his Cabinet. Gianforte is still favored to keep the seat red, but a state Trump carried by 20 percentage points last year became a battleground in the past few months.“Democrat Rob Quist, a folk singer and first-time candidate, has raised more than $6 million for his campaign, including $1 million in the past week alone as energized Democratic donors pour online cash into political causes this year. Quist hopes that enthusiasm also contributes to an outsize turnout -- as it did in special elections in Kansas and Georgia earlier this year -- for the oddly scheduled Thursday election, happening just before a holiday weekend.” http://politi.co/2qaR6pa -- WHAT REPUBLICANS WILL SAY IF THEY LOSE: Gianforte was a weak candidate in a challenging environment. WHAT THE GOP WILL SAY IF THEY WIN: We won a seat Democrats poured money into in a tough political environment with a president with flagging approval numbers. We’re well positioned for next November. THE TRUTH: People make more of special elections than they should. FOR YOUR RADAR -- “Manchester suicide bomber likely did not act alone, Britain says,” by Reuters’ Michael Holden and Andy Bruce in Manchester, England: “The Manchester suicide bomber who killed 22 people at a pop concert venue packed with children likely did not act alone, a minister said on Wednesday as soldiers were being deployed to key sites to help prevent further attacks. The official threat level in Britain was raised late on Tuesday for the first time in a decade to its highest level, ‘critical’, meaning an attack could be imminent. “Interior minister Amber Rudd said up to 3,800 soldiers would be deployed on Britain’s streets, taking on guard duties at places like Buckingham Palace and Downing Street to free up police to focus on patrols and investigatory work. ... She also said Abedi had been known to security services before the bombing. Abedi was born in Manchester in 1994 to parents of Libyan origin ...“Asked about reports that Abedi had recently returned from Libya, Rudd said she believed that had now been confirmed. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said British investigators had told French authorities Abedi had probably traveled to Syria as well and that he had ‘proven links’ to the Islamic State militant group.” http://reut.rs/2qaxXnq--“Who are the victims of the Manchester terror attack?” by The Daily Telegraph’s Helena Horton http://bit.ly/2qj06Uw NEW POLITICO/MORNING CONSULT POLL -- “Poll: Voters back Russia special prosecutor,” by Steven Shepard: “Voters are applauding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election and any connections to Donald Trump’s campaign. But, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, voters aren’t ready to begin the constitutional process of impeaching the president and removing him from office.“Nearly two-thirds of voters, 63 percent, either ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree with the Justice Department’s decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia probe, the poll shows. Only 21 percent of voters disagree with the decision to appoint a special counsel. The vast majority of Democratic voters, 80 percent, support the decision to appoint an outside prosecutor — but so do half of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.“On impeachment, 38 percent of voters want Congress to begin the process of removing Trump from office. A plurality, 46 percent, do not want impeachment proceedings against Trump. Sixteen percent of voters don’t know or have no opinion. Most Democratic lawmakers have discounted the possibility that Congress will work actively to remove Trump, at least given the current state of the investigation. “But Democratic voters are more eager to move forward, the poll shows: More than two-thirds, 68 percent, want Congress to begin impeachment proceedings now. Comparatively, only 12 percent of GOP voters and 33 percent of independents want Congress to launch impeachment efforts.” http://politi.co/2rgrI1IINSIDE THE ROOM -- “Trump calls Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons,’ according to transcript of Duterte call,” by WaPo’s David Nakamura and Barton Gellman: “President Trump labeled North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un a ‘madman with nuclear weapons’ during a private phone conversation with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte last month, just days before stating publicly that he would be ‘honored to meet with Kim.“In the April 29 call, Trump sought Duterte’s input on whether Kim is ‘stable or not stable’ and expressed some satisfaction in North Korea’s recent failed missile tests, noting that ‘all his rockets are crashing. That’s the good news,’ according to a transcript of the conversation made by the Philippines government on May 2 and obtained Tuesday by The Washington Post. Duterte responded that Kim is ‘playing with his bombs, his toys’ and offered that ‘his mind is not working well and he just might go crazy one moment.’ That prompted Trump to point out that the United States has ‘a lot of firepower over there,’ including ‘two nuclear submarines’ sent by the Pentagon to the region last month.” http://wapo.st/2ryyAaw -- NYT GETS DETAILS -- LEAD OF THE DAY: “President Trump praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines in a phone call last month for doing an ‘unbelievable job on the drug problem’ in the island nation where the government has sanctioned gunning down suspects in the streets. … Mr. Duterte responded that drugs were ‘the scourge of my nation now, and I have to do something to preserve the Filipino nation.’ Mr. Trump responded that ‘we had a previous president who did not understand that,’ an apparent reference to President Barack Obama, ‘but I understand that.’” http://nyti.ms/2rPtN1B --“Read the Full Transcript of Trump’s Call with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte,” by The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, Alex Emmons and Ryan Grim: http://bit.ly/2q9ZPIv -- AP alert at 5:03 a.m.: “MANILA, Philippines (AP) - Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte says ‘we are in state of emergency’ and skirmishes with militants are continuing.”NEW POLICY -- FOR RAND PAUL AND JUSTIN AMASH’S REVIEW -- “Proposed Rules Would Allow U.S. to Track and Destroy Drones,” by NYT’s Charlie Savage: “The Trump administration is asking Congress to give the federal government sweeping powers to track, hack and destroy any type of drone over domestic soil with a new exception to laws governing surveillance, computer privacy and aircraft protection, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. ... The draft bill’s language would authorize the government to summarily track, seize control of and use force to destroy any unmanned aircraft it determines may pose a security threat to an area designated for special protection.” http://nyti.ms/2qNX5iq --“Trump advisers call for privatizing some public assets to build new infrastructure,” by WaPo’s Michael Laris: “The Trump administration, determined to overhaul and modernize the nation’s infrastructure, is drafting plans to privatize some public assets such as airports, bridges, highway rest stops and other facilities, according to top officials and advisers. In his proposed budget released Tuesday, President Trump called for spending $200 billion over 10 years to ‘incentivize’ private, state and local spending on infrastructure. Trump advisers said that to entice state and local governments to sell some of their assets, the administration is considering paying them a bonus. The proceeds of the sales would then go to other infrastructure projects.” http://wapo.st/2qO1l1K BUDGET DREAMLAND -- “Trump’s Path to a Balanced Budget Paved With Accounting Gimmicks,” by Bloomberg’s Erik Wasson, Steve Dennis and Justin Sink: “Presidents have long used budget gimmicks to create the illusion they’re reducing the deficit. Donald Trump’s $4.1 billion spending plan harnesses nearly all the greatest hits. The White House said Trump’s request for fiscal 2018 would generate a fiscal surplus by 2027 after $3.6 trillion in spending reductions and $2.1 trillion in economic growth-induced revenue increases. Those conclusions rely on phantom tax increases, phony spending cuts and unrealistic growth assumptions. In other words, Trump’s budget avoids making hard choices that would be needed to get anywhere near a balanced budget.” https://bloom.bg/2rPpFi6--“Donald Trump’s Balanced Budget Goal Rests on Questionable Assumptions,” by WSJ’s Nick Timiraos: http://on.wsj.com/2qagewg -- REMEMBER: Congress has to pass a budget. If they don't, tax reform can't happen. Health care is already stalled. That's a tough message -- and reality -- for the GOP. DAN DIAMOND GETS RESULTS! “White House dials back cuts to drug control office,” by Politico Pulse author Dan Diamond: “The White House has backed down from its controversial proposal to virtually eliminate funding for the federal drug control office amid a nationwide opioid epidemic. The administration was originally eyeing a 95 percent cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, POLITICO first reported earlier this month. ... But after facing pressure from Republican and Democratic lawmakers — especially those in states ravaged by the opioid epidemic — the White House is proposing $369 million for the office in 2018, amounting to a 5 percent cut.” http://politi.co/2qUNC9D … Subscribe to Politico Pulse http://politi.co/2rPuYOj JOSH ROGIN in WaPo, “Graham: Trump’s State Department budget could cause ‘a lot of Benghazis’”: “The Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 State Department budget proposal irresponsibly cuts diplomacy and diplomatic security in a way that could cause ‘a lot of Benghazis,’ according to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C), chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on the State Department and foreign operations. He promised that Congress would reject the cuts. ‘If we implemented this budget, we’d have to retreat from the world and put a lot of people at risk,’ Graham said ... Overall, the Trump administration is proposing to cut the budget for the State Department and USAID, from the $54.9 billion estimated total in fiscal 2017 to $37.6 billion in fiscal 2018 -- a reduction of $17.3 billion, or 31 percent.” http://wapo.st/2qfmhvz THE RESISTANCE -- “Progressive activists to unveil new $80 million network,” by CNN’s Gregory Krieg: “The anti-Trump ‘resistance’ movement is growing -- and getting richer. At their spring gala Tuesday night, the Center for Popular Democracy Action will unveil a new $80 million effort to coordinate the work of dozens of smaller progressive groups from around the country. The activist organization's new initiative -- which, as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit political organization, is not required to disclose its donors -- arrives as part of a broader effort on the left to channel anger at the Trump administration into a lasting power base, with the ability to influence policy debates within the Democratic Party while boosting candidates on the local, state and federal levels.“The growing network spans 32 states, with 48 local partners, as part of concentrated effort to mobilize new voters -- pushing back on voter ID laws and partisan gerrymandering efforts while pumping up campaigns for automatic voter registration programs -- ahead of the 2018 midterms and 2020 general election. Organizers say they are also targeting six state legislatures they believe are ripe to flip to Democratic control.” http://cnn.it/2qa11f0THE JUICE … -- FIRST IN PLAYBOOK: NATE GATTEN has been hired as SVP of government affairs for American Airlines. He will be based in D.C. and is expected to start later this summer. He currently is managing director and head of global government relations for JPMorgan Chase. He also is an alum of American Capitol Group, Fannie Mae, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah) and the Senate Banking Committee. NOTE: Both Delta and United Airlines are still looking for new heads of their D.C. federal government affairs operations.-- THE NATIONAL RETAIL FEDERATION is bringing 20 executives today to D.C. to pressure Congress and the administration to drop the BAT tax. They’ll meet with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta and two dozen members of Congress. --PENNY PRITZKER, former Obama commerce secretary, spoke last night at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Global Leadership Awards Dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel, where she focused on the economic costs of Trump’s policies: “[C]onsider the costs of the Administration’s approach to trade. The president and his team are fixated on reversing our trade deficits. It has become an obsession—one that is fundamentally misplaced. Indeed, any economist will tell you that trade deficits are not a good measure of the strength of an economy, and they are an even worse measure of whether a trade agreement is working.” Read her full remarks http://politi.co/2qaXi0r SHOT -- “Melania Trump Snubs ANOTHER Of Donald’s Attempts To Hold Her Hand” -- HuffPost http://bit.ly/2qiXeHc CHASER -- “Obama’s White House photographer [Pete Souza] trolls the Trumps’ hand-holding failures on Instagram,” by WaPo’s Amy B Wang: http://wapo.st/2qV04nNIF YOU WATCH ONE THING – Last night PBS’ “Frontline” premiered a new documentary called “Bannon’s War”: “The inside story of Trump adviser Stephen Bannon’s war — with radical Islam, Washington and White House rivals.” The film include cameos by Bob Costa, Peter Baker, Emily Bazelon, David Bossie, Alex Marlow, Joel Pollak, Abigail Hauslohner, Dan Balz, Ben Shapiro, David Urban, Josh Green, Kurt Bardella, Uri Friedman, Marc Fisher, Matt Viser, Jane Mayer and Ann Hornaday. Bannon did not participate. The full doc http://to.pbs.org/2qa0v0c UPDATE -- “Sheriff David Clarke says he’s unsure if Trump administration will still hire him after plagiarism report,” by CNN’s Nathan McDermott and Andrew Kaczynski: http://cnn.it/2qUQNhv TRUMP’S LEGAL TEAM -- “Trump set to tap longtime lawyer Kasowitz to lead legal fight,” by Josh Dawsey: “President Donald Trump plans to select Marc Kasowitz -- his longtime, New York-based lawyer -- to lead his outside legal team as an investigation of Russian election interference heats up, an administration official said. Kasowitz has represented Trump in legal matters for decades and is considered to have the president’s trust. He has a well-established rapport with Trump and has spoken to him regularly since Trump was sworn into office.“In selecting Kasowitz, Trump once again is turning to a person with extensive experience working with him — rather than a seasoned, Washington-based operator — to deal with a high profile challenge. While Kasowitz is expected to take the lead on Trump’s outside legal team, the administration source said it is not yet clear how large an operation that will be. Administration officials are still not certain of the scope of the work but expect intense action over the summer, as the probe led by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller heats up.” http://politi.co/2qa65QvFLASHBACK – BuzzFeed, March 23, “Trump’s Longtime Lawyer Is Defending Russia’s Biggest Bank: Marc E. Kasowitz, who has represented Donald Trump for more than 15 years, was recently named a lead attorney in a federal civil lawsuit against Sberbank, which is majority-owned by the Russian government,” by Anthony Cormier, Jeremy Singer-Vine and John Templon: http://bzfd.it/2qO4IFS WHAT BRAD BAUMAN IS READING -- “We’re Seth Rich’s parents. Stop politicizing our son’s murder,” by Mary Rich and Joel Rich in WaPo: “Seth’s death has been turned into a political football. Every day we wake up to new headlines, new lies, new factual errors, new people approaching us to take advantage of us and Seth’s legacy. It just won’t stop. The amount of pain and anguish this has caused us is unbearable. With every conspiratorial flare-up, we are forced to relive Seth’s murder and a small piece of us dies as more of Seth’s memory is torn away from us.” http://wapo.st/2qUDHAV -- “Hannity steps back from DNC staffer conspiracies,” by Cristiano Lima: “Fox News host Sean Hannity said on Tuesday he would step back from discussing the murder of former DNC staffer Seth Rich, hours after the slain staffer’s family made an emotional public plea for media figures to ‘stop politicizing our son’s murder.’ Hannity, who has devoted numerous segments of his program in recent weeks to an unproven conspiracy that Rich, a former staffer for the [DNC], had been murdered as retaliation for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, said he would not continue discussing the matter out of respect for Rich’s family.‘’Out of respect for the family’s wishes for now, I am not discussing this matter at this time,’ Hannity said on his program. The Fox News host said he made the decision to reign in his coverage of the killing that after speaking directly with Rich’s brother. ‘My heart, my soul, my prayer goes out to them during this very difficult time,’ he said.“Hannity’s retreat came hours after the Fox News personality seemed content to double-down on conspiracies surrounding Rich’s 2016 murder. The WikiLeaks retaliation theory has been widely debunked, and on Tuesday Fox News retracted a May 16 online article on the investigation surrounding Rich’s murder – an article Hannity heavily-promoted on his primetime cable news show.” http://politi.co/2qV3cA6VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN in POLITICO Magazine, “Trump Is America’s Most Honest President: He just can’t help himself from blurting out the truth—even when it’s self-sabotage”: “[W]e’re accustomed to thinking of Trump as chronically deceptive and flat-out wrong, and he commonly is—about crowd sizes, illegal voting, his “fine-tuned machine” of an administration, the Iraq War, 9/11 cheering, the list is endless. But someone must be putting truth serum in Trump’s second scoop of ice cream these days. No matter the stakes, he doesn’t have even a White House junior aide’s gift for circumspection, spin or truth-shading. Lately, in fact, Trump can’t shut up even when almost everything is at stake. In a town of snakes and double-agents, the president’s extreme emotional transparency would be admirable, a sign of vulnerability, sincerity, guilelessness—that is, if it weren’t so self-incriminating.” http://politi.co/2rg0gBc DEEP DIVE – BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK’s new cover story -- “When the Patient Is a Gold Mine: The Trouble With Rare-Disease Drugs,” by Benjamin Elgin, Doni Bloomfield, and Caroline Chen: “With a flagship treatment that helps fewer than 11,000 people, how is Alexion making so much money?” https://buswk.co/Alexion23 ... The cover http://bit.ly/2qOsWzE HOLLYWOODLAND -- FOR CHRIS LICHT -- “Stephen Colbert Wins 2016-17 TV Season In Late-Night, Taking On Donald Trump,” by Deadline’s Lisa de Moraes: “Colbert’s CBS Late Show will win the 2016-17 TV season in total viewers – CBS’ first win over NBC’s The Tonight Show in overall audience with a season-long host since the 1994-95 TV season.” http://bit.ly/2qf4u7Q --“Jon Stewart and HBO Cancel Animated Shorts Project,” by NYT’s John Koblin: “Mr. Stewart, the former host of ‘The Daily Show’ on Comedy Central, was brought on in November 2015 to create digital shorts that would appear on the network’s digital apps like HBO Now and HBO Go. But 18 months after signing the deal, the two have agreed to shelve it, saying that the project was significantly more complicated than both sides expected. Mr. Stewart signed a four-year contract, and he will remain at HBO to pursue other efforts.” http://nyti.ms/2rSAqPFSPOTTED Bob Woodward and frequent New York Times writer Alyson Krueger yesterday at the Watergate Hotel -- pic http://politi.co/2qUU1Q6 ... President Obama’s former LGBT liaisons -- Brian Bond, Gautam Raghavan, Aditi Hardikar, and Raffi Freedman-Gurspan -- at dinner last night with Valerie Jarrett at Kapnos Taverna -- pic http://politi.co/2qUzxJr ... Scott Pruitt talking yesterday to the American Iron and Steel Institute and Steel Manufacturers Association at the Four Seasons … newlywed David Brooks yesterday afternoon in a blue suit dragging his suitcase down Louisiana Ave., NW, in the direction of Union Station OUT AND ABOUT -- SPOTTED last night at the Harvard Kennedy School retirement party at the Graham Allison Dining Room for “soft power” professor Joe Nye, hosted by David Gergen: Ban Ki Moon, Iris Bohnet, Marshall Ganz, Richard Parker, Molly Nye and their 3 sons: Ben, John, and Dan, John Deutsch, Graham Allison, Gary Samore, Doug Elmendorf, Jeanne Marasca, Holly Sargent, granddaughter Sage Nye, Juliette Kayyem, Joe and Marina McCarthy.TRANSITIONS -- Carolyn Fiddler has her last day on Friday at the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee as national communications director. On June 5, she joins Daily Kos as political editor and senior communications adviser, bringing her state politics expertise to the organization as it increases its focus on state legislative elections ahead of the next round of redistricting. … Andrew Malcolm is joining Exelon’s public advocacy team after seven years with Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), most recently as deputy chief of staff. …... Let America Vote, a voting rights organization started by Jason Kander, has tapped Abe Rakov, Kander’s former campaign manager, to be executive director. Bernie 2016 alum Brendan Summers will be campaigns director. Sylvia Ruiz, former director of Hispanic paid media at Hillary for America, will be political director. Austin Laufersweiler, former deputy press secretary for Kander’s campaign, will be press secretary.WELCOME TO THE WORLD – Heather Hunter, executive producer for WMAL Radio in DC and contributing writer at the Daily Caller and Lifezette, and Derek Hunter, radio host on WBAL Radio in Baltimore, columnist at Townhall.com and contributing editor at the Daily Caller, post on Facebook: “At 11:18 pm [Monday] night, my husband Derek Hunter and I welcomed Quinn Carol Elizabeth Hunter into the world. She is 7 pounds, 2 ounces. Special thanks to my parents for quickly flying up after my water broke during a commercial break on my radio show at 5:30 am [Monday] morning. ... She’s finally here and adorable.” Pics http://politi.co/2qUph3V ... http://politi.co/2qadbo3BIRTHDAYS OF THE DAY: independent consultant Giovanna Gray Lockhart. How she’s celebrating: “Joe is taking me on a surprise dinner date tonight and then over the weekend we’ll have a gathering with close friends.” Read her Playbook Plus Q&A: http://politi.co/2qOsbXs … Kasie Hunt, NBC News Capitol Hill correspondent. How she’s celebrating: “Dinner with my husband at Tyber Creek Wine Bar, the newest restaurant near our house in Truxton Circle DC. Then Nats baseball on Friday with our friends Carrie Dann and Luke Dickinson and cake with my parents and sister over the weekend!” Q&A: http://politi.co/2qaU3pU BIRTHDAYS: Rory Cooper, managing director at Purple Strategies and the pride of Franklin, Mich. … Eric Schwerin, president of Rosemont Seneca Advisors ... Bob Dylan is 76 ... Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) is 68 ... Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) is 57 ... Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) is 63 ... Politico alum Sara Olson, now senior manager of corporate affairs at Molson Coors in Denver ... Randall Baker Whitestone III, principal and director of comms. for the Americas at Carlyle (h/t Keil) … NPR’s Tom Bowman ... Ben Milakofsky, chief of staff at The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, is 33 ... Mark Bescher, Unilever’s manager of federal gov’t relations and external affairs ... Chelsea Koski, EVP at Signal Group ... Uber’s Emily Holman ...... Bob Franken … former CT. Gov. John Rowland -- in prison again -- is 6-0 ... Deborah Hart Strober, co-author of histories of the Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan presidencies (h/t Gerald) ... UFCW’s Meredith Ritchie … Madeleine O’Connor, director of comms at the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research ... Henock Dory ... Fred Duval ... Bloomberg’s Alisa Parenti ... Tom Maher ... Rana Abtar of Al Hurra ... Natasha Lawrence ... Jane Mosbacher Morris ... Debbie Goldberg, director of development at Schwarzman Scholars … Daniel Zingale ... Jim Atwood ... Kevin Tierney (h/ts Teresa Vilmain) ... Priscilla Presley is 72 ... Rosanne Cash is 62 (h/ts AP)

23 мая, 23:43

How Trump's aides pulled off Middle East tour

The president's smooth tour through Saudi Arabia and Israel reflected careful advance planning by a trio of White House officials.

23 мая, 18:33

UN chief, Security Council strongly condemn terrorist attack on Manchester concert

Secretary-General António Guterres strongly condemned yesterday's horrific terrorist attack targeting crowd gathering for a concert in Manchester, the United Kingdom, while the United Nations Security Council held a moment of silence to honor the victims.

23 мая, 01:00

Trump eyeing Lewandowski, Bossie as crisis managers

The president is considering tapping his former campaign officials to help his administration deal with the Mueller probe.

23 мая, 00:34

Security Council strongly condemns ballistic missile test by DPR Korea

Strongly condemning yesterday’s ballistic missile launch conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United Nations Security Council vowed to “fully and comprehensively implement all measures” imposed on the country and strongly urged all other UN Member States to do the same.

22 мая, 18:33

Winning Iran's Election Is Just The Beginning Of Rouhani’s Political Struggles

Iranians just overwhelmingly voted to keep President Hassan Rouhani in power after a fiercely competitive and divisive election campaign. But while the president’s re-election was hailed by moderates as a rejection of isolation and populism, it is only the beginning of a much larger battle for the centrist leader ― one that will require Rouhani to make good on past promises while finding a way to compromise with those whom he now needs on his side. Iran’s presidential election took place at a time when the country is witnessing its most sensitive political period since its 1979 revolution. There is unprecedented regional turmoil and a newly elected American president who, on his first overseas trip, openly advocated for overt confrontation with the Islamic republic. It is amidst such a backdrop that Rouhani’s resounding victory promises to be especially significant for the country as it defines its future ― and as the global community decides how to react to that future. Rouhani beat out the other remaining candidates, some from the moderate camp and some from the principlist, or conservative, camp. His main rival, Ebrahim Raisi, took the second largest voting percentage at 38.5 percent. In Raisi was the potential for a more conservative Iran. This potential has, for now, been quelled. Rouhani faces a nation disillusioned in part by his promises of economic stability from the nuclear deal. The Iranian electorate has spoken in its decision between two stark alternatives: strengthening civil society and engaging with the world, or turning inward with economic populism and combative foreign policy. In decisively voting for Rouhani, Iranians have endorsed diplomacy and moderation. And they have done so in direct contrast to U.S. President Donald Trump, who has called for increasing tensions with Iran and championed isolationist foreign policy. The real test now is what comes next. The near-record voter turnout of over 40 million people, coupled with Rouhani’s strong electoral performance, is a move in the right direction. But the president also faces a divided nation disillusioned in part by the promises of increased domestic civil rights and economic stability from the nuclear deal that Rouhani ran on ― and that have yet to be fully realized. If Rouhani wants to be successful in his second term as president, he’s going to need to follow through on those promises, win over the loyalty of moderate principlists ― including those who tended to favor Raisi ― and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and convince them and foreign powers why the world must engage positively with Iran. But his past looms as he looks ahead.  How Rouhani Became Vulnerable As president, Rouhani has political sway, but it is Ayatollah Khamenei who makes the top decisions and the moderate principlists, conservatives who are open to working with Rouhani but don’t necessarily support him, who serve as an influential power center in the country. Both have strongly criticized broader negotiations with the United States after the nuclear deal. Thus much of Rouhani’s ability to mandate reform this time around will be determined in part by how much credibility he’s able to regain within these domestic circles and by his willingness to appease key leaders. During the nuclear negotiations, Rouhani had Ayatollah Khamenei’s blessing and a mostly united nation behind him. He reinforced this support by successfully bringing the country back from the brink of economic collapse, implementing policies that took Iran from a recession to an estimated 7 percent annual economic growth, reduced the inflation rate from 40 percent to single digits, rebounded oil exports to pre-sanctions levels and attracted roughly $12 billion in foreign investment. But over the course of his first term, Rouhani gradually faced a more polarized public. And support from the supreme leader subsided as well as the eventual nuclear deal failed to produce expected dividends. This endorsement must be regained if Rouhani’s policy preferences are to sustainably implemented. Khamenei's endorsement must be regained if Rouhani’s policy preferences are to be implemented. In fact, Rouhani’s failure to produce on the nuclear deal proved to be a dark cloud over his other achievements ― the biggest challenge to his re-election bid was the state of the country’s economy nearly two years after those negotiations. Iranians are disappointed with the slow results of the landmark agreement made with the U.S. and other world powers. Rouhani’s signature foreign policy achievement ― the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA ― for many Iranians seems to have been oversold, largely due to the short span between the deal’s implementation and this election and U.S.-induced obstacles to proper sanctions relief. Opponents of Rouhani capitalized on the president’s difficulty in delivering the fruits of the nuclear deal. They largely mocked his foreign policy strategy of diplomatic engagement with global powers, including direct high-level talks with the United States, labeling it as weak and lambasting him for catering to Western powers. Raisi, the judge who became Rouhani’s biggest rival in the election, accused Rouhani of pursuing “begging diplomacy.” And leading up to the vote, senior Iranian cleric Kazem Seddiqi was known to have accused the politically moderate camp of “being cowardly” when working with foreign, particularly Western, leaders. Rouhani’s landslide victory represents a public rebuke to these criticisms, but the president will nonetheless have to continue striking a balance between pragmatic foreign policy and preservation of Iran’s rights and dignity. It is a nuance Rouhani didn’t shy away from in his victory speech, when he said that he wanted to engage with the world on the “basis of mutual respect and [Iran’s] national interests” but would not settle for “threats and humiliation.” Rouhani must strike a balance between pragmatic foreign policy and preservation of Iran’s rights and dignity. One of the key ways this balance will be tested is in the way he chooses to approach Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia. The president’s willingness to mend tension with the kingdom under certain circumstances is a controversial view that ensued much debate during the campaign and similarly earned him the scorn of his principlist rival. Raisi reportedly claimed, during a presidential debate, that Saudi Arabia acts only in line with American strategic preferences, and characterized the Saudi government as a “cancerous tumor” in the region that seeks to sow division in the Islamic world. His comments stood out because they marked the first time in Iranian politics the “cancerous tumor” label, usually reserved for Israel, had been applied to Saudi Arabia. Meanwhile, Rouhani has denounced a 2016 attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and exercised inclusive and conciliatory rhetoric in domestic issues, especially in relation to Iranian minorities. And it seemed to work in his favor this election. For the first time, Iran’s Sunni minority coalesced around one candidate, with Iran’s Sunni spiritual leader Molavi Abdul Hamid endorsing Rouhani. This should be interpreted as a positive message by Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states and inform their policies towards Iran. A Challenging Path Forward: Trump And Saudi What happens next remains to be seen, but if the Arab Islamic American Summit in Saudi Arabia with Donald Trump is any indication, Rouhani has many foreign policy challenges ahead. In fact, while Iranians went to the polls, those very Sunni Arab states who could have looked to Rouhani’s openness for diplomacy in a positive light, reacted with clenched fists. And so did Donald Trump. Hours after Rouhani declared victory in Iran, Trump signed an over $100 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, further militarizing the region. The deal, according to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was designed to help Saudi Arabia counter “malign Iranian influence.” In a similar vein, the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia have indicated that they are taking steps to form an unprecedented anti-Iranian so-called “Arab NATO.” This anti-Iran collaboration was reinforced during the U.S. president’s stay in Saudi Arabia, where Trump declared in his keynote address that, “all nations of conscience must work together to isolate” Iran. Trump’s apparent eagerness to increase Iran-Saudi tensions, contrary to former U.S. President Barack Obama’s belief that the two countries should “share” the region, will exacerbate regional instability and encourage Saudi Arabia to remain intransigent in response to Rouhani’s overtures. His call in Saudi Arabia for “all nations of conscience” to “isolate” Iran not only will surely fail and put the U.S. and Iran even deeper on the path to confrontation, but will also prove to be a lose-lose strategy for Washington, Tehran, Riyadh and the other regional nations. Trump’s apparent eagerness to increase Iran-Saudi tensions will encourage Saudi to remain intransigent in response to Rouhani’s overtures. Further, the U.S. president’s decision to fight the nuclear deal will only disenfranchise the very Iranian people both he and King Salman of Saudi Arabia claimed to have great respect for. A JCPOA- violating sanctions bill is circulating in the U.S. Senate with significant Democratic support. The Trump administration, despite its recent renewal of JCPOA sanctions waivers, is still fundamentally critical of the deal, raising serious doubts about its sustainability. In the midst of all of this, Iran’s neighborhood is ridden with conflict, with no end in sight to the wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. But there is hope. What stands out most about the Iranian election is its uniqueness in the region. Iran’s first experiment with democratic elections occurred over 100 years ago, but the energy and competitive atmosphere during this campaign was unparalleled. It bore far more resemblance to elections in the West than those of America’s regional allies, who are decades behind Iran in terms of democratic practice and mostly run along familial or tribal lines. People still chose the embattled Rouhani, even in spite of all the setbacks his domestic and foreign policies presented. Now that he has an election mandate, perhaps Rouhani’s biggest fight beyond regaining support from the supreme leader and the public will be reacting to President Trump. Trump stands at a fork in the road as well. He can either accept the resounding call of the Iranian people for peaceful engagement, or he can return to the pre-Obama U.S. policy of unrelenting hostility towards Iran. If he chooses the former, he will find a receptive voice in Tehran. But if he chooses the latter, as his speech in Saudi seemed to indicate, the Iranian people and Rouhani will have to be united in resisting aggressive U.S. policies, as they did during Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran during the 1980s. It looks like Trump and Rouhani both have a long road ahead of them. Ambassador Seyed Hossein Mousavian is a Middle East security and nuclear policy specialist at Princeton University and a former chief of Iran’s National Security Council’s Foreign Relations Committee. type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related on WorldPost: + articlesList=5921ca0ce4b03b485cb24817,5919f756e4b05dd15f0a3895,58dd9822e4b0e6ac7093be2c -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

22 мая, 12:21

Iran’s President Isn’t a Reformer. He’s an Enabler.

Don’t be fooled by Hassan Rouhani. He’s deeply complicit in an evil system.

22 мая, 06:30

World Leaders Gather In Beijing While The US Sinks Into Irrelevancy

Authored by Wayne Madsen via The Strategic Culture Foundation, While vaudevillian comedy-like shouting matches broke out in the West Wing of the White House between President Donald Trump and his senior advisers and between the White House press secretary and various presidential aides, world leaders gathered in Beijing to discuss the creation of modern-day land and maritime «silk roads» to improve the economic conditions of nations around the world. Nothing more could have illustrated the massive divide between the concerns of many of the nations of the world and those of the United States, which is rapidly descending into second-rate power status, along with its NATO allies Britain, France, and Germany. While Mr. Trump was threatening to fire his senior White House staff, reprising his one-time role in his reality television show «The Apprentice», China’s President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and presidents and prime ministers from around the world sat down to discuss the creation of new international and intercontinental highways, railways, and maritime routes under China’s proposed Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. Even countries that are cool on the Chinese initiative, including India and Japan, sent representatives to the summit that carried a bit more clout than the pathetic representation of the United States, Matt Pottinger, a little-known special assistant to Trump and the senior director for East Asia of National Security Council. In fact, the only reason Trump sent anyone to represent the United States at the Beijing gathering was because of a special request made by President Xi during his recent meeting with Trump at the president’s private Mar-a-Lago Club resort in Palm Beach, Florida. South Korea, which saw relations with China sour over America’s placement of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea, sent a delegation to Beijing after a phone call between South Korea’s new liberal president, Moon Jae-in, and President Xi. Moon responded to the phone call by sending a delegation led by his Democratic Party’s veteran legislator to Beijing. Even North Korea, which rankled South Korea, Japan, and the United States by firing a ballistic missile into waters near Russia, sent a delegation to the Beijing meeting headed by Kim Yong Jae, the North’s Minister of External Economic Relations. The Trump administration, which sent a virtual unknown to Beijing, complained loudly about North Korea’s representation at the Silk Road summit. But Washington’s complaint was conveyed by someone as unknown as Mr. Pottinger, Anna Richey-Allen, a low-level spokesperson for the U.S. State Department's East Asia Bureau. The reason why the United States is being spoken for by middle-grade bureaucrats is that the nation that still believes it is the world’s only remaining «superpower» is now governed by an administration rife with top-level vacancies, inter-agency squabbling, and amateur league players. Even though major European Union member states were not represented in Beijing by their heads of government, Germany sent its Economy Minister, Brigitte Zypries. She warned, however, that the EU would not sign a Silk Road agreement with China unless certain EU demands on free trade and labor conditions were guaranteed. Germany’s reticence did not seem to faze other EU nations, which were represented in Beijing by their heads of government and appeared to be more avid in their support of the Chinese initiative. These EU member state leaders included Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, Czech President Milos Zeman, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Moreover, had British Prime Minister Theresa May not been in the middle of a general election campaign, she would have been in Beijing. Nevertheless, she sent British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in her place. If the Trump administration hoped to convince world leaders to stay away from Beijing, it was sorely disappointed. The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, was there, along with the President of the World Bank Jim Yong Kim and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde. Also present in Beijing were the presidents of Turkey, Philippines, Argentina, Chile, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Switzerland, Kenya, Uzbekistan, and Laos, as well as the prime ministers of Vietnam, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Fiji, Ethiopia, Cambodia, and Myanmar. Ministerial delegations from Afghanistan, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Maldives, Romania, Nepal, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Tunisia, Uganda, and the United Arab Emirates were at the Beijing summit. Japan was represented by the senior adviser to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Secretary General of the Liberal Democratic Party, Toshihiro Nikai. France, which was experiencing a change of presidents, sent former Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The Silk Road initiative has projects planned in all the nations whose governments were represented in Beijing, except for the United States and Israel. In addition to the nations represented by their government heads of state and ministers, Silk Road agreements were signed between China and Palestine, Georgia, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Tajikistan, Brunei, Croatia, and East Timor. The one clear message the Beijing meeting sent out to the world is that America’s «unipolar» vision of the world was dead and buried. Even among Washington’s longtime friends and allies, one will not hear Donald Trump referred to as the «leader of the Free World.» That phrase has been discarded into the waste bin of history along with America’s insistence that it is the world’s only «superpower.» The United States is a power, a second-rate one that happens to possess a first-rate nuclear arsenal. But nuclear weapons were not being discussed in Beijing. Major projects were on the agenda, projects that when completed will leave the United States at sea in the propeller wash. President Xi, in his keynote address to the conference, said that the «One Belt and One Road» initiative is «a project of the century» and that will benefit everybody across the world. And to put his money where his mouth is, Xi said China will contribute 80 billion yuan (US$113 billion) as added financial impetus to create a global network of highway, railway, and maritime links in a recreation of the ancient Silk Road that linked China to the West. Meanwhile, in Washington, Trump spoke of having recorded «taped» conversations with his fired director of the FBI James Comey, setting off a political firestorm. A new global infrastructure being spoken about in Beijing and political hijinks the major topic of conversation in Washington. The United States has fallen into second-rate global status and is seriously ill as a cohesive nation-state but does not even realize it. China and Russia used the Beijing summit to showcase several Eurasian initiatives, including the Russia-inspired Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both the Chinese and Russian heads of state let it be known that the BRICS alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa was still a potent world entity, even though South Africa was not represented in Beijing by its president and India chose not to send any representative to Beijing. President Putin’s words to the conference about the new geopolitical status in the world were noteworthy: «the greater Eurasia is not an abstract geopolitical arrangement but, without exaggeration, a truly civilization-wide project looking toward the future.» In other words, the European Union, which is losing the United Kingdom as a member and will never see membership for Turkey, is a dying international organism. Other international initiatives, like the EEU, BRICS, AIIB, and the One Belt, One Road (OBOR), are leaving the EU and the United States in the dust. That was evident by the fact that the United States was represented in Beijing by an overrated desk clerk and the EU by a Brussels «Eurocrat,» the European Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen.

22 мая, 00:00

ISIS Is Near Collapse. So What & Who Comes Next?

Joseph Adams & R.P. Eddy, RCLR.P. Eddy is a former Director of the White House National Security Council and senior U.S. diplomat. He is the CEO of Ergo. Joseph Adams is an Ergo Middle East analyst specializing in the political, economic, and security dynamics of Iraq and Syria. Experts clearly predicted the rise of ISIS and our government did nothing & Continue reading